[Kota Kinabalu] : Not Your Typical Sunday

For misadventures on what could be an easy Sunday are not necessarily a bad thing. – 08.24.14


KK Day 3

My second to last day in Kota Kinabalu far from chill and easy but quite an adventure. It started early from being at the Gaya Sunday Market while the booths were being set-up until some waiting time at the bus stop which turned out longer than the actual Ruhma Terbalik upside down house tour. An unanticipation of the ease in transportation from the house back to the center made me go local, riding a van destination of which unknown to me. Such traumatic bus rides then led to me finally giving up on possibility of a commute to see monkeys somewhere not too faraway (Lok Kawi Wildlife Park)  in the afternoon. Highlight would have to be when I crossed the street across my hostel (Borneo Backpackersbarefoot as it was raining hard.

My day started early because I knew I was going to spend some travel time to go to off-center upside-down house and yet I wanted to go see the Gaya Sunday Market which was just right across the street. It was my last chance at pasalubongs as I felt I have made the rounds of the area and still felt there were few missing interesting stuff I can bring home to loved ones. I went off the roof where I had my beach clothes hanged and it was a bonus that I had those 5 minutes of calm as I was witnessing bird flight on that early Sunday morning. I could also see from there the street that they were closing for that day for the market. When I felt some booths were being readied, headed my way there to start my shopping. Quite limiting at that as I realized that I was running low on cash. I wanted to keep more than enough as I was thinking that worse comes to worst, I would be taking a cab ride from off-center places I had been meaning to see that day. IMG_0450

Early Sunday morning.



Hmm. Am pretty sure they are announcing that this road is closed.



Junk Food Overload.



And people started coming in.



Classic souvenir shirts



Some herbal stuff



Early morning tambay



More classic pasalubong stuff



Bracelets overload. We have these in Manila too though



Reminded me of Quaipo



If only I had more money, I would buy that shell wall decor



A book I got for exchange for that Murakami book


Walked my way to the bus station that could take me to Ruhma Terbalik, the upside down house which was my first stop for the day. I was surprised that their system there was, well, not systematic that I had to wait for almost an hour for the bus. I was asking fellow passengers and probably conductors on when the bus would come and what they told me was that the driver must still be sleeping. A kind man told me I should grab something to eat first or sit down in a café due to the heat and come back before 9AM. I was hesitant to trust him at first. What if the bus comes while I was chilling with my coffee or something? Then I may have to wait for God-knows-how-long. I trusted him and my gut though and went for a quick walk to a nearby convenience store to grab something to drink and eat. I got lucky and even found some food treats I could bring home as pasalubong. Luckily also too, the person who advised me to go someplace else first then come back after a few minutes, was right. When I came back, the bus, or more like a van, was right there and I even managed to score myself a seat in front beside the driver (it’s a left-hand drive country, by the way). Driver seemed friendly and even offered me oranges so I ‘took advantage’ of this friendliness and told him I needed to go to this place to which he nodded quite assuring that he got me. 20140824_081133

Not very helpful this one!





I wish we have more of these in Manila. I could eat my daily food from convenience stores



Deepful of instant.



Does this count as a selfie? Just to remember my seat.



That was the guy who helped me 🙂


From the town center, I could sense the sense of ‘town centerness’ thinning out (if I am not mistaken, road to Ruhma Terbalik is the same route to Mount Kinabalu) but it was no trouble finding the house as it was just along the highway. I just had to cross the street and voila! I was at the counter together with other tourists, in groups quite expectedly. As they let in people in batches of about 10, I was joined to a group that was relatively big upon entering the house. I remember there was this fun moment when I was trying to take a selfie while we were waiting for our turn. I could tell they were trying to be subtle but I could detect in their faces some wonder (or was that ridicule?) with what I was doing. Couldn’t care less though because hey, I went this far and I need a picture with that structure. IMG_0506

How could I get lost?



Some helpful information



.. and this is not helpful.


20140824_101239 Batch before us


Ours was a short wait but it was still shorter than the actual visit which lasted about 10 minutes. No photography allowed so I would try my best to describe it without spoiling. House seemed like a small flat with exposed living and dining areas, two small rooms and a bathroom. It could be that I expected differently but there is a certain unnaturalness to the place. This is not because it is upside down, but more that I could sense that everything was staged and that objects inside the house were specifically made to be put in that house. (Hmm I don’t think I am getting across well.) I guess I would have preferred it if they just collected random stuff and creatively put everything in there upside down. Maybe a consolation to that “no photography” rule, they gave this photo op opportunity on the outdoor space situated nearby the house’ exit. Couldn’t selfie in most though so I was thankful to this stranger who offered to take my picture. In the upside-down toilet at that! By the way, near the exit is a souvenir shop wherein as expected, souvenirs could be pricey. I grabbed a few nonetheless. Good that they have functional ones like note pads and coloring books! The heat made me grab some drinks and chips and the “bitin” feeling pushed me to do more attempts at selfies before finally calling it a check on my day’s itinerary. I then asked the reception person where the bus stop was and she said something that resembled “watermelon” and it was only later that I realized that she really meant watermelon. Indeed, that was quite a long time waiting at that watermelon shed and with few cars passing by, it was a longer time. IMG_0515 20140824_105057

Boy, that was quick.



When solo, find mirrors.



Yep. Read that block of wood to know what this is.



Why isn’t it raining soil?!



180 degrees.



Poor teddy bear.



Another photo from the outside because photo-deprived from the inside.



Indeed a watermelon shed.


Thanks to two ladies who helped me though and let me ride this van. Set in mind though not to be trusting when traveling solo, I remember being in panic as being the only passenger, the driver seemed to be heading an unfamiliar way. It was only later that I realized that he was taking me to a nearby town where from there, I could ride another bus to town proper. More waiting time in that town and by afternoon, with much needed relief, I was back at the hostel. And this is quite after a walk under the scorching heat of the afternoon sun and that unusual feeling of dizziness due to long wait inside the non-airconditioned van at the terminal. Traumatized with the bus ride back, I impulsively gave in to pricey cab ride to my next go-to to see monkeys. Couldn’t say if it was worth it because animals were few but there was some giddy in seeing those monkeys – especially those with distracting nose. This wonder on what is so adorable watching them eat plus those friendly encounters with zoo people – one with Hilda the zookeeper who is first stranger to ask me what my name is and who, in her words, did some ‘ strategy’ so Martia the grumpy orangutan could look at me and this guy at the animal show who forced me into having my picture taken with a big snake. IMG_0554 IMG_0562IMG_0558 20140824_143051

Almost symmetrical.


And also this one!



Home of (what I think) are lonely orangutans.




What’s so adorable with you, creatures?










Because they were too cute!



But this fellow guest seemed to be enjoying this fella more.



Closest photo I could take.



A picture with Ate Hilda



Maybe a selfie expert herself, she asked for a retake.

~~~ IMG_0602

20140824_151635 20140824_152239 20140824_154327

This guy crew pretending to be guest who is scared of the snake



NIce try but I could see right through you, brother!



Panic face! Haha 😀


Half-luck struck and it RAINED just when I was about to leave zoo. It rained less upon reaching the center again so I still got to grab some eat. Tried this bak kut teh (despite a so-so find in Singapore a few years back) then on my way back to hostel, had to cross the street barefooted because I was afraid of tripping due to my heavily unrealiable sandals. This is a mundane event that one I would remember forever as that is a first I have done not only in a foreign country, but in my entire life of years. IMG_0607

Look at those clouds






Some soup to help with less cold.



So near yet so far.



Romantically thrilled


Stayed in with my cans of different kinds beer and when with rainstop, went for another at this bar where on a table next to time was this big group talking loudly in Filipino! When felt had too much beer and noise), left to walk some more until I just got into that eatery and trying out an unthought-of tummy-fill.


What the C.


20140824_195455 20140824_210607

At some pub near the marlin statue (Gaad. I must remember places)



How some locals spend their evening



Some carinderia midnight snack


Some of my TripAdvisor reviews you may want to check out: 

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